Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Last Day at Work

I realized that I haven't posted any pictures of myself on here forever so I thought this would be the chance since I have some recent ones (you can also see some cute pics on Sadie's blog of our vacation that I was talking about.)
So as you all know I'm starting my new job on Monday. Thursday was my last day at Universal and they threw a little going away party for me, which was really unexpected and thoughtful. So first, here are pictures of people you guys don't know but trust me, they're my colleagues. LOL

And here is me and one of my favorite colleagues, Marvin. He is one of the nicest, most sincere and funny people I know.

And another very good guy Marc, who wrote the most stunning recommendation letter for me. Gotta love that!
And Patrick is also one of the many people I am going to miss seeing every day.

I was given a huge bouquet of flowers that were just gorgeous. The are absolutely beautiful on my table at home and smell great. (Thanks Tilma!)

These are the ladies that I worked closest with the ladies of the legal department, well minus me now. The two on the left are new (the second girl is my replacement, GOOD LUCK Caisha!) They are: Daymin, Caisha, Alexandra (who did Sadie's mural), Noor (who you've "met" via mine and Sadie's blog), giant flowers, me, Georgia (who is generally a hell of a lot happier than she looks in this picture) and Christie. We're just missing Marisa who was I don't know where.

After work the legal eagles had a night out with dinner and a show at Boom Chicago. It's like watching Saturday Night Live only better. It's partially scripted, mostly improved and freaking hilarious. We had a wonderful time and my face hurt from laughing so much. Now THAT'S the way I wanted to leave Universal. Laughing, having a good time and a little bit tipsy!

The food was good too, which was kind of unexpected since places like this tend to not do so well in the kitchen as most people come for the show. It was surprisingly delicious!

So that was it! My last day and now come Monday I'll be starting over, once again, at a new job. I'm really looking forward to it though, in a bitter-sweet sort of way. I'll miss my friends at Universal a lot and not seeing them every day is going to suck but this is just what was best for me. I look forward to the new challenges, meeting the new people and starting something fresh. Wish me luck!

Losing my mind (not my ass)

I swear wrote in here about my Dutch vacation already, since we've been back. I swear I did. I can almost rewrite this post in accordance with my memory of what I thought I wrote but thanks to one of my loyal readers (thanks becklette!) I realize I did NOT tell you guys how my trip went.

Overall, the trip was superb! The second day there my in-laws complemented me on how much better my Dutch was and from then on I just said whatever came to my mind, regardless if it was correct or not and most of them times I seemed to be able to get it semi-right or at least right enough that they could catch my drift. That's a big problem for me, just having the balls enough to make mistakes and sounds a bit daft (or a whole lot of silly) and I managed to get over that.

The park was absolutely gorgeous even for October in the Netherlands. Center Parks is apparently a chain of parks all over the world. In Holland the "center" of the park, where all of the shopping, eating, paying, swimming, is generally covered by a huge dome so you can enjoy the whole park regardless of the weather. We, naturally, booked the only park that didn't come with the fully domed center. The only covered places were the swimming park and the "Action Factory" where kids could play and the rest you had to get through the rain to get to. We were still lucky, especially for the NL, that it didn't rain until the second to the last day. It was chilly and I forgot my coat but we managed to still have a lot of fun.

Our bungalow (and why do I get the sneaking suspicion that I'm spelling that wrong?) was big enough that the 5 of us (me, Marco, Sadie, Oma and Opa) didn't feel like we were on top one another. We had two WC's (water closets or toilets, which seriously are the size of small closets) and one was ever so slightly bigger than the other and even had a small sink in it. We had a separate shower with a sauna and another bathroom/shower combo. We had a full kitchen, living room , dining area and balcony, complete with ducks and a swan who would beg for food.

So whew... I survived and actually I did more than that, I really enjoyed myself! I'll be "camping" again sometime (which I've been told by numerous people that what we did wasn't camping at all but in Holland it's camping baby)!

On the weight loss (or should I just stop calling it weight loss and call it "weight" instead). I've not gotten on the scale in a couple weeks but from the way my jeans felt, I've managed to gain a pound or two. I know why, actually. I keep telling myself, "when I start my new job, I'm going to start everything, losing weight, eating well, exercising." and instead of doing it NOW, even though I know I shouldn't put it off, I am, indeed, putting it off. Ah well, I start my new job Monday (YAY!) so no more excuses after then, right?

I hope you all are having healthy, successful weeks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another short vacation...

Now that we're back and in the swing of things after our U.S. vacation we're getting ready to go on another short little trip with the Aarssen family. It's the first trip with all of us together and I'm bit torn on how to feel. I'm excited to have the time with Marco and Sadie, all day, every day. I'm excited to spend some real time with Marco's parents and his brother, sister-in-law and nephews as we really don't get together often enough. The only thing I am leery about is spending 5 days in Dutch.

Now I know that may sound strange as I live in the Netherlands so why am I not spending 24/7 in Dutch already? Because we speak English at home (Marco and I speak English to one another, he speaks only Dutch to Sadie and I speak only English to her). I speak English at work. I speak English on my blog. We watch 99% of television in English. It's a rare occasion when I actually have to speak Dutch. When I'm out and about I speak Dutch, so in the shops or around the neighborhood walking the dog, and when I am with my in-laws I speak Dutch (they don't speak English, and neither do my nephews who are 6 and 8 years old) but it doesn't really give me a lot of Dutch time or practice.

If you've never lived in a foreign country or never been in a situation where you're not speaking your native language then you may not understand how demanding it can be (and intimidating at first, of course I'm past that stage after living here ver 5 years). I have to concentrate twice as hard at listening to what everybody is saying. I have to focus all of my attention if I really want to follow a conversation with multiple speakers. I have to catch what I can, translate it in my head (I've not mastered thinking in Dutch), think what I want to say, translate it in English and then try and spit it out. Generally by time this takes place the entire conversation has shifted and the well crafted sentence that I'm ready to blurt out is moot. It's mentally exhausting after a few hours. We're going for a few days.

It can be really good for my Dutch. Honestly, it's the best way to learn a language, to be forced to listen and participate, but it can take its toll on you as well. I've bought some Wieckse Rose, which is a fruity beer that I really like, and hope that it will help. I know the more my in-laws drink the better their English gets so hopefully the reverse is true. If anything I can always claim "hangover" and take a few hours for myself to recoup.

After vacation I get back to Universal for 4 more days or work, have a 3 day weekend and then begin my new job! I am so happy right now with the way things are going. I think I should be more nervous, and according to most people, I really should be more nervous, but honestly, I'm just not. I'm really looking forward to a new start, new challenges, meeting new people, finding my way and going forward that I just can't be scared or worried or nervous or any of those things. I guess that's a good thing, right?

As far as the weight loss efforts go... well, let's not talk about those right now. What? Sorry? Oh yeah, that IS the point of this blog. Okay, so my weight is not budging. Why would it? I'm not doing anything at all to get it to move in either direction. I keep thinking to myself "when I start my new job then THAT is the point where I get all of my eating/exercising stuff together. That's great but in my head I KNOW that I should be doing it NOW, already. And I am half assing it for the most part, eating healthy here and there, not eating healthy now and then, but I know myself and I know that for me it has to be all or nothing. Half assing this will not help me in losing half of my ass, which is, quite literally, how much I need to lose, half of my current weight.

Scary thought isn't it, that I could lose half of my body weight and be at a healthy, normal weight for somebody my height? A bit gross if you really think about it but hey, I'm not going to start down that self destructive path again, of telling myself how terrible I am and how disgusting it is or any of those other self defeating things that over weight people bash themselves with. I'm just not going to do it. Í am what I am, take it or leave it, and this is what I have to work with. It may not be the best, but it's all I have so what else can I do but accept myself "as is" and work on it.

So if you don't hear from me this week know that I will be back soon, with a positive message of weight loss efforts and probaby a pounding migraine from a weeks worth of Dutch lessons!

I hope you all have healthy, successful weeks.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Good scale news and my new job

I've lost most of the weight that I gained on vacation already so woohoo for that! Most of it was water retension, so it seems, as it slid off rather quickly and my legs and feet are not nearly as puffy.

So, about my new job...

I'm totally excited about it! My official title is Team Assistant to the Programming Department. I will be assisting one VP (French), 3 managers (1 American, 1 Greek, 1 German) and one other person that I'm not sure what the title is or where they're from. The company is UPC and it's owned by Liberty Global who also owns Chello Zone. Basically we're one of the largest broadband, TV and internet providers in Europe. It's a really international company, the working language is English so I'm still not going to get any help with my Dutch. Oh well. I

I'll be doing similar work to what I'm doing at Universal only on a smaller, different scale. What I'm most excited about is that the opportunities to do new things, learn and develop are 100 times more than I'll ever get at Universal and that's really important to me.

The company has a lot of benefits that I'm currently not getting like free travel insurance for our whole family even if the travel isn't work related. The health insurance will be cheaper for me and I will have the top tier of the healthcare scheme. They also pay some money to me to go towards my insurance every month. They pay my traveling expenses to and from work. They contribute to our pension fund over what I put in myself and they're contribution increases with your age. They have yearly wellness checks if you want, at the office. As I mentioned, I will get a discount on my gym membership. There's just a ton of stuff that is really great.

The best part is that I'm not nervous or anxious or second guessing myself about the move or my abilities to do the job well. I have had a positive feeling about this once since the moment my recruiter called me and discussed it with me the first time and that's really great.

So there you go... good news all around!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I officially have the new job now, the contract is signed, sealed and delivered but what I'm really excited about is one of the "perks" of the job, or the company rather. I found out today that I can get a discount on a gym membership to the gym that is right across the street from my new office! I will have an hour lunch break and was really hoping that I could use part of that time to get in some sort of exercise, which I have been totally lacking since... well actually since I was pregnant... so many many months (actually almost 2 years) ago. Good lord has it been that long?

Wow. I'm really excited to be getting back to it and I know I will be feeling better too, physically and mentally, with regular work outs. Making time for exercise at home sounds good in theory but it's just not happening. It's just not. Sadie is still not sleeping well (it improved for a while there and then since vacation has been HORRIBLE!). I'm so drained by time I get home it's all I can do to stay awake long enough to make supper. With this gym opportunity staring me in the face I will have no valid excuse not to get my body moving.

I've not been this excited about the possibility of a workout in ages. It feels good. It feels real good.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Whirlwind - the only way to describe it

So lots and lots and lots of stuff has happened since I've posted last. Our vacation was awesome. We got to spend so much more time with my parents this time which was really nice. I didn't get to see a few people that are always on my "to see" list due to some bad circumstances (sorry Teena!) but we did get to see some family members that we hadn't seen in our last couple of trips.

We had a second 1st birthday party for Sadie (actually a 13.5 month birthday party!) and all of my nices and nephews came. It was great to have all of the kids there. A few days before we left Sadie started having a bit of stranger anxiety but she was good around her cousins, it was more the adults that she had the aversion to. She would give them this look, the hair eyeball, where she'd scowl at anybody who looked her direction. She didn't really mean it though because as soon as they would turn away or stop looking at her she'd wave her arm off at them. Crazy kid.

It went too fast and the final goodbyes were as hard as ever. Getting on the scale once I was home was no trip to the zoo either. I gained between 6-8 pounds while vacationing which was to be expected, really.

When we got back I turned on my cell phone to have a wonderful voice mail from one of the recruiters I've been working with asking me to call her because she had a position she thought I'd be interested in. (I've been looking for a new job since January). So in less than 30 minutes after arriving home (on Monday) I had an interview lined up for the very next morning. I went to the interview on Tuesday and by Wednesday evening I had an offer and accepted it! I typed out my resignation letter that night and on my first day back from vacation I gave my boss my one month notice. My God what a week!

Then of course we're all dealing with jet lag and Sadie had her 14 month shots Thursday which has made her feverish, whiny, clingy and just not feeling well. Poor girl. That combined with jet lag had kept her up about every hour through the night which is killing Marco and I. I hope she gets it worked out soon because Mommy is looking rough to say the least.

speak of the devil...